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[PYCL: Let’s make a really "big deal" of Christ Jesus! (#1)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

August 30, 2015 on

“Christ Jesus”

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: If there is one thing I've learned from one of my adult daughters (who got her degrees in organ performance, and with that, had much to study about church music, and Christian religion in general), it is that Christian Scientists don't make a big enough "deal" of Christ Jesus, and how much we love him and what he did. I never thought that, but can see where that might actually be the case because we don't talk about him with the same sort of language as many Christians do (I'm not speaking about regarding him as God, though that is a big difference). Of course, this does not mean that we think less of him! In fact, it is quite the opposite, since we really try to follow him in all his ways, including in the way he healed! But here we have an awesome opportunity in Sunday School to make a really "big deal" of him. Why is he important? Why do we keep reading about him and what he did? How do we learn new things about him and about healing when we read or tell a story about him that we've heard a hundred times before? What makes those stories powerful? And finally, the first Pycl I was going to mention, was, why do we read about the prophecy over and over (Responsive Reading and citations B1, B6)? After all, he came already; we knew it was prophesied, what do we have to learn from that prophecy today? Even the youngest kids can contemplate these questions together. What did it take for Mary to conceive Jesus? She was a virgin; discuss this from the idea of being pure and holy in her thinking. She would only entertain the most God-like thinking. Can we do this too in order to welcome in that Christ in our own experience? What about the "butter and honey"? What did that symbolize? Should we choose only the good, and "refuse the evil"? Can you come up with some examples?

Pycl #2: I was thinking this week too about the fact that the Jews were expecting the Messiah to come as a military leader to free Israel and re-establish their status as a free nation. But I noticed in the prophecy included in the Responsive Reading that it says: "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…" . That is so clearly a statement of spiritual fact, and not human. What human government could be described in this way? It might be an interesting detail to think about together in class. What constitutes true prophecy? Can we prophecy today? (Mrs. Eddy tells us that we should not prophecy "erroneously", so presumably we should prophecy rightly!) Is it about telling the "future"? Maybe it is seeing the truth about every circumstance. Maybe it is about not worrying about things to come, or predicting evil or boredom or failure?

Pycl #3: What does it mean to be a disciple? Can we be one today? Okay, so we can't follow the man, Jesus, around from town to town. What are we able to do? In order to heal as he did, we have to be surrounding ourselves with the atmosphere of his thinking and actions. Maybe this is one answer to the first Pycl about why we keep reading stories about him. We have to keep on learning new things from his example; we can't just be content with whatever we already know. This is true of us adults as well! What can we each learn about Jesus this day, in Sunday School, that is new and that we can put into practice every day? Can we find one new thing each day of the week? Or at least can we look at something "old" in a new way?

Pycl #4: Does everyone know what an heir is? It would seem that we can inherit all sorts of things beyond "stuff" and money from our family. You don't need to introduce the idea of genetics in Sunday School, but most kids already know that they might be similar to their moms or dads in some way that identifies them as "from" that family. What if the only place from which we inherit anything is God? Citation B2 addresses this thought. And Christ Jesus helped us more than anyone, to understand our sonship with God. It is an awesome thought, the idea that we get everything we need and everything we truly have from God. We are lively, intelligent, unique, creative, happy, athletic, beautiful, inspired, and so on, because God has "passed this down" to us. This is a "line in the sand" that we want to draw early and continuously if we want to thrive in our happy, healthy, prosperous, healing lives. We do not "get" anything else, good or bad, from any other source. And of course, we only get good from the only source, God.

Pycl #5: What was Jesus' most important mission? It was healing sin. Why is that harder than healing sickness? Mrs. Eddy tells us that it's because we don't much like being sick, but we sometimes enjoy sinning and have a hard time giving it up! Section 3 has some thoughts on this. Explain sin more as doing the wrong thing, when we know it's wrong. Does it make us happy and comfortable when we are caught and corrected when we are doing the wrong thing? Not usually. You can paraphrase or just read citation S11 together and kind of think through this idea that "discomfort" is what Jesus "inspired" in the world. That's a way of saying that "mortal mind"/"the world" resists what is good for it. Sometimes we think that Jesus is all about the comforting ideas that he shared, but here Mrs. Eddy speaks of the discomfort! What do the kids make of that? The flip-side of this is that this discomfort spurs change for the better and helps us to open that "door" (B11) so that we can live a more "abundant" life. What does this mean for younger kids? What is an abundant life? If they say: "x-boxes, other toys, trips, friends, etc." we can help by thinking together about what abundance really is. What makes us the happiest? Can they think of the happiest moments in their lives? What made them happy times? Most often it will involve something with their family–even if it was a trip to somewhere cool, it was special because of whom they shared it with. If they had been there by themselves, it would not have been that fun. If it was camp, what made camp special? Was it the activities themselves or the way these activities were carried out and who they were with? If they had been yelled at and laughed at the whole time, then nothing would have been fun, no matter how much they liked that activity! The point is that an abundant, satisfying life comes from welcoming the message of Jesus, that we must follow him, and give up whatever would hold us back from that path. Try something like giving each kid a bag full of rocks to carry across the Sunday School. Was that easy? If we want to do something good we have to leave behind those "heavy" things, like criticizing others, losing our temper, or being impatient, frustrated, sad, etc. Those are like the big heavy rocks in a bag that we drag around with us and keep us from following Jesus. Also, you won't get as "tired" if you drop those bad qualities, you'll find that it becomes easier and easier to see Jesus' path in front of you!

Pycl #6: Just read/tell the story about the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears in citation B14. Why is this story almost always included in the Bible lessons about Christ Jesus? Why is it the opening story in Mrs. Eddy's chapter on Christian Science Practice (in S&H)? What about this story is so essential to the nature and lessons of Christ Jesus? See what the kids come up with, I would love to know!! There are many ways you could talk about this story. You could act it out with the youngest ones. How does the woman approach Jesus? Is she standing above him (in a position of authority)? Does she wash him with water and wipe him up with a towel? Why not? Do you think she planned this on purpose (no towel or water, etc.?) I know these seem like little details, but think of it from her point of view. She probably felt a deep sense of shame and humility; she totally recognized his purity and perfection and felt her own seeming lack of it. How much courage did it take for her to walk into this wealthy, important man's house and approach Jesus? (Talk about uncomfortable!) How would each of the kids feel if they could approach Jesus? When we approach a situation knowing that we are wrong, or that we have something to learn, are we ready to hear new things and start fresh? What if we think we already know it all? Do we sometimes do this in school or at home when we feel like we already know something and we don't want to hear, or we don't listen to what someone has to say? Mrs. Eddy tells us that we need to follow Jesus more like this woman did… what does that mean for us? Are we supposed to do "bad things" so we can be especially humble? Or are we supposed to recognize that we need to approach Jesus' path with a constant sense of humility, lack of self, deep desire for growth?

Pycl #7: I have, in the past, come up with some ideas for a board game of sorts that would have a "path" that represents the path that Jesus laid out for us to follow. You could certainly create something like this together with your class. You can roll dice to move forward, have cards that you draw that would "entrap" us and make us go off on a "side trail". You can decide as a class, over more than one class period certainly, how you want to make and play such a game. You could use Bible verses within the game or passages from Science & Health. It would not need to be very complicated and might be more fun to make than to play, but either way, it would invite some thoughts about how we can follow Jesus in the Way.

Have a great Sunday!

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